Sylvia Lake, NY
Water: Beaver Dam Cleanup '04
We all love Sylvia Lake. Some of us only get to be close to her for a few weeks out of a year. Some of us are lucky to experience all four seasons. No matter how much time we get to spend at the Lake, we all want Sylvia to be healthy and clean. This is a year-round goal. Whether the challenge comes from invasive plants like Eurasian Milfoil or beaver dams, or tent caterpillars, a team of Lakers always steps up to the plate and gets the job done.
The cement dam at the outlet of the lake, controls Sylvia Lake's water level. The dam was built by St. Joe (the mining company) in the late 1960's. Since the 1970's, lake residents have monitored the level of the lake by adding or removing boards in the dam to maintain a consistent flow in spring, summer, and fall. By doing this, the water remains constant even if we have a long dry spell and that helps to keep our lake clean.
Over the years, many, many campers and their kids and relatives have gone down to the dam and beyond to bust beaver dams, remove debris, dynamite (when needed) and canoe or kayak to Harmer's White Talc Road. At Harmers Road, there are three big tubes that the lake water flows through. They are at 10-12 foot level lower than the lake.
Another big water tube is just down from the cement dam and goes under the railroad track. The mouth of this tube has to be cleaned every couple of years at both ends.
Over Labor Day weekend, one team tackled the milfoil issue and another worked to clear the outlet. This is a critical activity. In the Fall, the lake's water level rises. Beavers build homes for the winter and summer debris fills the outlet. It's natural for the lake to rise, but too much rise means the coming ice might pose a danger to docks and property.
Enter the TEAM. Stepping up to the plate, a group of intrepid volunteers, armed with chainsaws and coolers, got the job done. Thank you to Gale Ferguson, Mike Hatch, Andy Leonard, Scott McHelvey, Randy Gadbaw, Ralph Undercoffler, Gary Scott and helpers, for your willingness to perform such a stinky, slimy, dangerous and necessary job. . Special thanks to Ferg for the photos.
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